Went to my first Trinity College match of the year last Saturday the 4th to cheer, admire the skill and re-connect with Coach Paul Assaiante and many familiar faces on the team. Paul has written a book about his coaching and his team that just came out November 25th. I finished it an hour ago. Fantastic and poignant. It’s called Run To The Roar, Coaching to Overcome Fear.
You may recall that I am a Trinity groupie who sees many of the games at Hartford (an hour drive) and also many of the away games at Yale, Princeton and Harvard. The team has won their last 225 matches—the longest winning streak in any collegiate sport—and the national championships for the last 12 years.
Tom Wolfe wrote the intro. His son was on the team, and he and his wife used to attend the matches. He emphasizes how squash just doesn’t work on TV—a too-tiny 1 5/8″ ball traveling 160 miles per hour. So if it can’t be seen, there are no TV programs, people don’t know about the sport, and millions miss out being thrilled by the sport’s extraordinary athleticism.
But it’s easy to watch it being played live. Around 300,000 players are active in the US. Maybe 15 million in the world. For whatever reason, I am hooked and inspired. If you read the book, you will have some sense of the world of squash, with all of its drama and exhilaration.
Coach Assaiante has constructed his story around one championship game, the 2009 final match between Trinity and Princeton, when the winning streak was challenged and almost lost. I tell you proudly that I was there at Princeton’s courts screaming for Trinity and way outnumbered by those home team fans. Of the nine contests played, the winning team needs at least five victories. For each individual match between two combatants, three out of five games are required to win. It takes nine points to win a game. At the end, it was 4 to 4 in matches, 2 games to 2 games in the last individual battle, and Trinity’s number one player was losing 0-5. You will love reading how it ended…how it began…and how each individual fight played itself out in this memorable drama.
You can learn more about Trinity in this earlier article .